Roger Bernadina Rumors
Earlier today, we learned the Nationals signed outfielder/first baseman Xavier Nady to a minor league contract, adding insurance for Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche, who are both battling injuries. Here's more on the Nats and a couple other items of note ...
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel implied that his team may look for infield help outside of camp now that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Placido Polanco are all dealing with injuries, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. We heard earlier today that the Phils could be interested in someone like utility man Mike Aviles of the Red Sox, although Aviles is tentatively slated to be Boston's starting shortstop as of now.
- The Nationals optioned prized prospect Bryce Harper to minor league camp, the team announced. The Nats will go with an in-house option such as Roger Bernadina and/or Rick Ankiel in center field, a source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com, with Jayson Werth playing right field. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, for one, doesn't think Harper's demotion was related to his arbitration or free-agent clocks (via Twitter).
- Mets manager Terry Collins said Fernando Martinez, now with the Astros, was waived this offseason because the outfielder was unable to stay healthy, writes Paul Hagen of MLB.com. "I know his talent. I know he's got great talent. Unfortunately, he's been one of those guys who's had a tough time getting the amount of games that I think you have to have to get ready." Martinez, for his part, said he was surprised that the Mets chose to waive him, thinking instead that he thought at times that a trade was possible.
On this date in 1995, MLB owners and players agreed to end the strike that began in August of 1994. There hasn't been an MLB labor stoppage since, despite a close call in 2002. Here are some links for Friday evening...
- The Yankees intend to lower payroll below $189MM by 2014, but GM Brian Cashman explained that the club will continue spending aggressively, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch (Twitter link). "We’re still the Yankees,” he said. “We’re still going to outspend everybody else. That’s not going to change."
- The Nationals announced that they renewed the contracts of right-hander Drew Storen and outfielder Roger Bernadina. The team has the right to unilaterally assign the players a 2012 salary, since they aren’t yet eligible for salary arbitration.
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark has a detailed breakdown of the recently-announced postseason schedule. Stark also answers some common questions about the new format and explains why he's in favor of it. "One game -- with the entire season riding on it," Stark writes. "It's March Madness with bats and balls."
- MLB and the MLBPA aren’t considering expanding the postseason beyond ten teams at this point, Stark tweets. Michael Weiner of the MLBPA says the sides "never seriously discussed" that option.
The latest Nationals news...
- The Yankees shot down the Nationals' attempts to trade for Brett Gardner, according to Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters today he doesn't think anything has changed on the Upton front.
- The Angels have no interest in trading Peter Bourjos and the Mets plan to keep Angel Pagan, writes Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.
- The Nationals and Rays discussed center fielder B.J. Upton recently, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Yesterday we heard the Rays would have to be overwhelmed to move Upton. The Nationals are "fixated" on leaving the Winter Meetings with a new center fielder, a team source told Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com.
- Nationals manager Davey Johnson has talked to free agent Mark DeRosa about joining the team, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The Nats also have interest in bringing Willie Harris back.
- The Nationals are letting teams know Roger Bernadina is available in trade, tweets ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The 27-year-old posted a .243/.301/.362 line in 337 plate appearances this year.
The Phillies will attempt to advance to their fourth consecutive NLCS on Friday, when former teammates Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter face off in Philadelphia. Until then, we've got some links from the NL East to keep you entertained...
- Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider says the Nationals could have room on their roster for Rick Ankiel next year, though it would probably be as a fourth outfielder. There's "virtually no chance" the Nationals re-sign Laynce Nix and Ankiel, according to Zuckerman. Jonny Gomes could be back, but the out-of-options Roger Bernadina isn't assured of a roster spot going forward.
- The Mets announced that Johan Santana will rest to prepare for the 2012 season instead of playing winter ball or pitching more in the instructional league. GM Sandy Alderson says he's optimistic that Santana will "maintain a Spring Training schedule with all other Mets pitchers next February and will be ready for the start of the 2012 season." The Mets owe the left-hander $24MM in 2012, $25.5MM in 2013 and at least a $5.5MM buyout in 2014.
- The Mets also announced that bench coach Ken Oberkfell, third base Coach Chip Hale, first base coach Mookie Wilson and bullpen coach Jon Debus won't be back in 2012. The A's signed Hale to be manager Bob Melvin's bench coach for the next two years.
10:47pm: The Nationals are more likely to go after Span than Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton at this point, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports hears that the sides are in a "staredown" (Twitter link). The Twins want the Nationals to include Storen in their offer.
9:22pm: The deal is "no closer than any other day," an MLB official told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
6:31pm: A deal featuring Span and Storen continues to look close, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
5:18pm: There are lots of mixed signals about the talks, but no deal is close, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
3:28pm: The Nationals are making headway with the Twins on a deal for Span, tweets ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Twins are insisting Storen be included along with a second player.
10:45am: The Nationals are pushing setup man Tyler Clippard on the Twins for center fielder Denard Span over closer Drew Storen, tweets Scott Miller of CBS Sports. He says the Twins won't trade Span for a setup man, however.
Aside from saves, Storen comes with one more year of team control than Clippard. Still, we're talking about 2015 and 2016, and there's no telling what can happen with relievers in the course of several years.
10:08am: The Twins are unhappy with the Nationals' offer, Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). Meanwhile, the Nationals are worried about Span's concussion.
FRIDAY, 9:23am: Talks between the Twins and Nationals are ongoing, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Span and Storen are at the center of discussions, with Roger Bernadina and others in play. The Nationals aren't talking exclusively to the Twins as they search for a center fielder, but Span appears to be high on their list of targets.
THURSDAY, 12:52pm: The Nationals are not willing to trade Storen for Span, reports MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
WEDNESDAY, 3:20pm: The Nationals continue to target Span, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Storen may be in play.
MONDAY, 2:03pm: The Nationals have talked to the Twins about Span, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Nationals are unwilling to trade Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard, though Rosenthal feels Ian Desmond could be of interest to the Twins.
1:30pm: Twins center fielder Denard Span is high on the Nationals' list of targets, reports Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Span would fit the team's desire for a controllable center fielder/leadoff hitter, assuming there are no ill effects from a concussion suffered in June.
Span, 27, is hitting .294/.361/.385 on the season in 255 plate appearances. His center field defense has been a plus in recent years, according to UZR. His team-friendly contract has less than $15MM remaining through 2014, plus a club option for '15. It's not known whether the Twins consider Span expendable; Ben Revere has a .249/.287/.284 line filling in. The asking price would surely be significant.
The Nationals are "aggressively pursuing" a trade for Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. However, Kilgore’s source doesn’t expect Washington to trade for either pitcher. Earlier today, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported that Royals GM Dayton Moore is actively gauging the market for Greinke.
The Rays and Royals could have interest in Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann, but the Nationals are not likely to move either player. However, Kilgore hears that the team would move Danny Espinosa “in a heartbeat.” Roger Bernadina would be available and it’s possible that the Nationals would consider trading Drew Storen or Sean Burnett, according to Kilgore.
Adam Kilgore from the Washington Post provides us with some info on the Nationals as their season draws to a close this weekend:
- The quartet of Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina, and Mike Morse have seen the majority of the outfield time this season, and Kilgore says it's likely that those four do the same in 2011. It would be tough for the Nationals to land a top outfielder like Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, and beyond that there's not many attractive free agent options. Personal speculation, but if they do choose to look for free agent offense in the outfield, they could try to buy low on Magglio Ordonez.
- Manager Jim Riggleman says that despite Justin Maxwell's offensive struggles this season, the soon to be 27-year-old is too talented to give up on. Riggleman thinks everything will click for Maxwell next season and hopes he'll be a part of the club. He says there's no "last chance" situation with Maxwell.
- GM Mike Rizzo also said they're committed to Nyjer Morgan in 2011. That may have been in question with some fans as a result of his behavior and multiple suspensions this season.
- The Nationals are known to be looking for front-line starting pitching, and have Japanese phenom Yu Darvish on their radar. Darvish wouldn't be cheap, but he'll likely be more affordable than the market's only proven Major League ace -- Cliff Lee. Kilgore says it would be "speculative" to gauge Washington's interest, but notes that their scouts have seen him pitch in person at least nine times and recommended him to the front office.